15 Essential Products for Camping
What are you going to pack on your next trip? Here is a guide to some of the best items on the market.
Story & Photos: Casey Cordeiro
Camping is a wonderful activity to do with your family, and bringing along the right gear is important to keep everyone comfortable and ready to come back for more. This list provides an overview of 15 essential items to have in your camping kit. And, you can rest assured that we have just tested all of these items on a 7-day, 710 mile UTV Adventure ride through deserts, mountains, rain, snow, sunny days, and everything in between… So, get out there and enjoy some starry nights with these 15 Essential Products for Camping
1.) Camp Stove – Camp Chef Everest 2X Camp Stove
Product Link: https://www.campchef.com/camp-stoves-305/mountain-series-stoves/mshp.html
When assembling your camping kit, you want to be sure you have all of the essential cooking items, like silverware and plates, tables and chairs, propane bottles, and, of course, a camp stove to boil water and cook your food on. We have been really excited to use our Camp Chef Everest 2X camp stove, and the time finally came on this 7-day trip. The Everest 2X has 2-20,000BTU burners, giving the stove much more power to cook, boil water, and make coffee in the morning. We found it to be extremely useful on the trail with its compact size, available carry bag, and easy to use functionality. I love how the sides just fold in and also become wind barriers when folded out. This stove is really well thought out, and it also lights very easily with the matchless ignition, even in high winds that we experienced. Once the trip was done, the stainless drip tray is easy to clean. If you want to hook it up to a larger propane bottle, you can do that with an accessory gas converter. Overall, this Camp Chef Everest 2X works flawlessly and has a compact layout, providing easy storage on a big camping trip!
2.) Warm Jackets – FXR Mens Fuel Jacket 20
Product Link: https://fxrracing.com/collections/mens-jackets-snow/products/m-fuel-jacket-20?variant=28458118217790
Staying warm on the trail, especially when the rain hits and the wind howls, is one thing that we are never going to take for granted. FXR has an incredible lineup of gear, and their history in making top notch snowmobile gear ensures that your off-road adventures will be warm and cozy. After using this jacket for 7 days on the trail, which was mixed in with rain, cold temperatures below 30 degrees, and warmer temperatures around 70 degrees, this jacket easily kept us all comfortable no matter what the weather through at us. When the temperature warms up, the inner liner removes so you still have a protective outer shell. And we had no problem staying warm cruising at 50mph in an open UTV with temperatures dropping into the 30’s. Plus, how can you go wrong with all of the available colors?! Overall, this jacket strikes a great balance between price and performance, and you’ll find that it will outlast your expectations.
3.) Klymit Sleeping Gear – Build a kit of Tents, Sleeping Bags, Sleeping Pads, and Pillows
Price: Depends on items
Cross Canyon Tents (starting at $199.95: https://klymit.com/collections/tents-hammocks/products/tent-cross-canyon-2?variant=31778749710426
KSB 0 Large Sleeping Bag ($299.95): https://klymit.com/collections/sleeping-bags/products/ksb-0-sleeping-bag-1?variant=31778691743834
Drift Camp Pillow ($39.95): https://klymit.com/collections/pillows/products/drift-camp-pillow?variant=18073060606042
Sleeping Pads (starting at $44.95): https://klymit.com/collections/sleeping-pads
We say it time and time again, but staying comfortable at night is imperative. A bad night’s sleep can ruin your entire trip, especially if it is smack dab in the middle of a multiple day camping trip. On our 7-day excursion, we used all of the Klymit products listed here, and we came away super impressed with how warm and comfortable we stayed even as temperatures dipped into the teens at night. The Klymit sleeping pads and KSB 0 sleeping bags are the money makers here – not only does it feel like you’re at home on a comfortable bed with the 2” thick inflatable sleeping pad, but the KSB 0 sleeping bag is warm when you need it be, but doesn’t overheat you on warmer nights. The latter fact is the reason I have been so skeptical with mummy-style sleeping bags (the KSB has more room than a traditional mummy bag, too), but the KSB doesn’t overheat you even when the temperatures are warm. Climb in on a cold night and the bag is warm within about 30 seconds. The Drift Camp Pillow is one of those innovative products that you take for granted, too. It folds up nicely and has an ingenious covering system to keep your pillow dry and ready to use night after night. The Cross Canyon 4-person tent has plenty of room to stand and fit 4 people; in our case it was 3 people and a pup. Yes, you’re spending more money on these items than simple Walmart camping gear, but the comfort, longevity, and superior build quality are all reasons to buy Klymit gear. I can tell you from first hand experience, these items are well worth it!
4.) Cooler & Reusable Water Bottles – Pelican 50 QT Elite Cooler & Portable Water Bottles
Price: $308.95 for the cooler and $24.95 for an 18oz bottle
50 QT Elite Cooler: https://www.pelican.com/us/en/product/coolers/elite/50qt?sku=50Q-1-DKGRYEGRN
Portable Water Bottles: https://www.pelican.com/us/en/product/drinkware/bottle/travbo18?sku=TRAV-BO18-BLK
On a 7-day trip, you’re going to want a cooler that you don’t have to fill up with ice every 2 days. During our 7-day excursion, we only had to re-fill this Pelican cooler once! The ice retention is exceptional, and this cooler was mounted in the back of a RZR PRO XP 4 right on top of the engine. I’ll say it again, the insulation is impressive, and all of us on the trip found that the secure latches, built-in handles, and rubberized non-slip feet made this cooler worth every penny of its asking price. The portable water bottles were much the same, and we enjoyed the secure lids when out on the trail. This bottle is one you don’t worry about because of its durable construction, too. Plus, you want reusable items when out on the trail so you don’t accumulate trash.
5.) Storage Bags – Keep Smiling Powersports JAB Tactical Adventure Bag
Product Link: https://keepsmilingpowersports.com/collections/jab-bag/products/jab-tactical-adventure-bag
While these bags don’t look like they are very wide, they actually hold a ton of stuff for camping! We love these bags for holding our Klymit tents, pillows, and sleeping pads in one space. A very well built bag, the JAB Tactical bag has massive zippers, which are found on the top and sides. Mounting solutions for these are plentiful, too, with built in straps on the sides of the bags. We ended up putting these bags on the back of a Honda Talon 1000X-4 and securing them with bungee straps. The system works awesome, kept all of our stuff out of the elements even in an overnight rainstorm, and provides a ton of storage or all of your goods. The thick outer shell and very well-made zippers are the two elements that put this bag over the top. Plus, how can you not smile when you see this bag?!
6.) Spare Tire & Carrier – Polaris Accessories for the RZR PRO XP Lineup
Product Link: https://rzr.polaris.com/en-us/shop/accessories/storage/2883745-458/
With the ability to move up and down, this spare tire carrier is one of the best we have used on the market. You still have full access to the entire bed in a Polaris RZR PRO XP, plus you can mount tools or other items to the underside of this spare tire carrier. Again, it still allows you full access to the bed, too. After 800+ miles of abuse, we found that this spare tire carrier is built to last and holds a 32” tire with ease. The included Y-strap holds everything in place securely, too.
7.) Portable Power, Jumper Box, and Air Compressor – Schumacher 1200 peak power
Product Link: https://smile.amazon.com/Schumacher-SJ1332-Jump-Starter/dp/B07892JQ1Q/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=Schumacher+jump+starter&qid=1583182054&sr=8-5
Yes, these items are more bulky than a small jump starter these days. However, if you don’t have a built-in air compressor mounted in your UTV, then this Schumacher doubles down as a very handy tool – it can start your vehicle in a pinch, and it can pump up your tires with ease. It also has an air mattress pump built in, and it can easily charge your devices when out on the trail. We used it to charge up phones and GoPros on a 7-day adventure, and the battery never went dead on us. It lasts a long time and can provide you and your family with the emergency jumpstart when needed. A built in power meter ensures that you always know what the charge level is at, and the LED light even came in handy for camp setup at night.
8.) Off-Road Capable GPS system – Garmin Overlander
Product Link: https://smile.amazon.com/Garmin-Overlander-Multipurpose-Navigator-Off-Grid/dp/B07R54G8YV/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Garmin+overlander&qid=1583182114&sr=8-2
We have heard so many riders say, “I know where I’m going, I don’t need a GPS!” Well, many of those have also told us that they have, indeed, gotten lost while out on the trail. So, do yourself a favor even if you are a world renowned navigator – buy a portable GPS system like the all-new Garmin Overlander. You can plot your own courses and even store it away while out on the trail. With a magnetic mount that easily attaches to RAM mounting accessories, this Garmin is a do anything and go anywhere GPS. It’s also weatherproof, so, like we did, you can leave it in the elements while you’re camping at night and come back to a fully functional GPS system. The maps are all high resolution, and we really appreciate how easy it is to track your rides and use all of the built in features. Plus, I’ve been using it for months for off-road navigating, and for street-based drives in my truck. The dual functionality and easy mounting makes this GPS system a winner.
9.) Reusable cups, plates, and silverware – Wealers Complete Messware Kit
Product Link: https://smile.amazon.com/Stainless-Tabelware-Camping-Outdoor-Cutlerys/dp/B07BF51JP7/ref=sr_1_15?dchild=1&keywords=camping+reusable+cups+plates+and+silverware+set&qid=1583182318&sr=8-15
Creating a camping kit is all about minimizing the “stuff” that you bring. That’s why we’ve included compact items over big, bulky things. This place set is easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to store for 2 people and all of your eating needs on the trail. Just remember to bring a cloth or soap/sponge to clean these off after use. Stainless construction will ensure that they last while bumping down the road, too.
10.) LED night lights – Harbor Freight Braun 1250 Lumen Work Light
Product Link: https://www.harborfreight.com/1250-lumen-work-light-battery-bank-56163.html
This particular night light is extremely bright, and it doubles as a portable battery charger for your small devices. Tools like these are very handy on the trail, and our camping group found ourselves putting this Braun night light up on our UTV roof to light up the entire campsite. They are also more compact than a lantern, and you can recharge them with a simple 12V plug in your UTV.
11.) Spare Fuel Containers for extra mileage – Rotopax Fuel Container
Product Link: https://rotopax.com/rotopax-2-gallon-gen-2.html?category_id=28
This tends to happen to all of us – once you get the camping bug, you’re adventures get longer and longer and you can’t help yourself. Pretty soon, you’re going to need extra fuel while out on the trail. The proven option for this is a Rotopax fuel container, which is leak proof and built to be jolted around on the trail. Rotopax has mounting solutions, and the aftermarket also has many different solutions for you. We recommend the 2-gallon for convenience and compact size, or you can opt up to the 3-gallon size, which we have personally used with great success.
12.) Winch for emergency recovery – WARN Axon 4500 S
Product Link: https://www.warn.com/warn-industries-101140
There is no substitute for quality, and WARN winches are the top dogs when it comes to vehicle recovery. We have used and abused an Axon 4500 S for the past several months in everything from sand dunes to muddy trails to river crossings to wide open deserts. The pulling power is plenty and the synthetic line is very easy to handle. The compact and all-in-one design of the Axon series makes it worth every penny. And, installing this WARN was a cinch with no contractors to mount and minimal wiring. For the do-it-yourselfers like us, the fact that you can get a mounting plate from WARN is awesome as well. If you’re out on the trail and need to get out of the vehicle to winch, the digital corded remote is a very handy feature to have for this winch. Overall, we are very impressed with the compact package and fantastic build quality that this WARN Axon system includes!
13.) Electric Start Propane Torch (fire starter) – Harbor Freight
Product Link: https://www.harborfreight.com/electric-start-propane-torch-91061.html
Fitting onto a small propane canister with the simple screw-on design, this propane torch is compact and easy to take with you on a camping trip. You have to bring small propane canisters for your camp stove anyways, so why not bring this torch as well. The push button start keeps your hands away from the flame, and this tool became our go-to fire starter over our recent 7-day adventure. No alternative fuels needed, this lights the wood with ease and also gives you a good heat tool just in case you need it on the trail for broken parts.
14.) Tool Set in a tough container – Craftsman 150-piece Gunmetal Chrome Mechanics Tool Set
Price: $149.00 (25% off price)
Product Link: https://www.lowes.com/pd/CRAFTSMAN-150-Piece-Standard-SAE-and-Metric-Gunmetal-Chrome-Mechanics-Tool-Set/1000596571
We see it more often than not – UTV drivers don’t have the proper tools with them when on the trail. They break down, then what?! Having a tool set that has all of the sockets, screw drivers, allen wrenches, and Torx bits that you could possibly need is imperative, and this kit has all of that. With a lifetime warranty, you don’t have to worry about getting dust or mud in the tools either. We have abused this kit the past several months on over 1000 miles of riding. The exterior box has held up beautifully, and the interior contents all stay in one place with the included divider. This kit is highly recommended! In addition to a kit like this, you should also have at least a recovery strap, duct tape, spare fuses, bailing wire, gloves, and other pertinent tools with you.
15.) Camp Chair – Ozark Trail Quad Chair
Product Link: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-Hazel-Creek-Lightweight-Quad-Chair/358873180
I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried all of the camp chairs. From the big ones from Costco to the smallest camp chairs that fold out just big enough for your bum, they all have their pros and cons. That’s why we ended up buying a couple folding camp chairs from Walmart before our last trip. They are easy to store with a compact folding design, easy to use when you get them out on the trail, and they lasted just fine on our 7day adventure. With colors galore and availability everywhere, these are an easy item to through in your camping pack.